Friday, January 01, 2021
Lahore's Capital City Police Officer (CCPO), Mohammad Umar Sheikh, was removed from his post earlier today, with Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar approving the cop's transfer to Farooqabad.
Sheikh made headlines after his comments on a case when armed men had subjected a woman to gruesome sexual assault on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway after midnight.
In what became one of the most high-profile rape incidents that triggered protests across Pakistan, the CCPO Lahore shifted the blame on the survivor, making victim-blaming comments that led to an uproar among the members of the civil society.
Though he apologised a few times, he continued to issue statements and pass controversial comments which brought numerous complaints to CM Buzdar.
Amid several complaints lodged against the CCPO, Punjab Chief Minister was informed that Sheikh assigned an amputee officer to Buzdar's security and another employee who earlier worked with police vans.
In another case, he misbehaved with a superintendent of police (SP) when he resumed work after sick leave. The CCPO also hurled abuses at several police officers, causing unrest in the force.
The actions and behaviour of Sheikh — who was appointed on the recommendation of Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Barrister Mirza Shahzad Akbar to deal with the land-grabbing mafia — caused a lot of resentment among the Lahore police. Reportedly, the CCPO would summon whoever he wanted, handcuff them, and have them thrown behind the bars.
The CCPO Lahore was reportedly never present in his office during the official work hours but used to go there at night. He was also never on good terms with the public.
Prior to his victim-blaming comments, Sheikh had also misbehaved with the inspector-general of police (IGP) for Punjab, Inam Ghani. He was not present for a meeting on law and order situation — held at the Lahore registry of the Supreme Court of Pakistan — and presided over by a senior judge who filled in for the chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed.
When asked where the CCPO Lahore was, IGP Ghani was directed to call him in. Upon arrival, Sheikh said he was "busy with some other matters," a statement which shocked the meeting's participants. "You were busy with something else when there's a Supreme Court meeting going on," he was asked.
As the meeting concluded and the participants left, Ghani asked the CCPO if he even knew what was the required etiquette for such events and how it was unwise of him to be absent. In response, Sheikh reportedly told the IGP that he knew his work "very well" and that he did not need anyone "to tell [him] how to do [his] job."
Subsequently, many more complaints were registered against Sheikh.
In yet another case, former SP Cantt, Dr Anoosh Masood Chaudhry, misbehaved with the senior superintendent of police (SSP) for investigation in Lahore, Abdul Ghaffar Qaisrani, telling him not to interfere with her official matters when Qaisrani initiated an inquiry in a land-grabbing case.
Dr Anoosh Chaudhry reportedly had "complete and absolute support from the CCPO Lahore." A complaint was then sent to the Prime Minister's Secretariat and Chaudhry was directed to report to the Punjab Services Department and then to the Establishment Division, Islamabad.
Sheikh, who was directly appointed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, was also removed from his position by the premier's approval after complaints in the PM Secretariat were greenlit.
The CCPO Lahore has been replaced by Ghulam Mehmood Dogar, formerly the deputy inspector-general (DIG) of police for technical procurement at Punjab's Central Police Office.
A senior and seasoned police officer, Dogar is in line for promotion next month. He has worked extensively in Lahore and knows the capital city's crime and culture well.
The former DIG, who has worked in Faisalabad for three years, has been reportedly appointed on merit and not on anyone's recommendation.
He has been assigned the post also in light of the fact that crime — especially in Raiwind — has risen, with three or four dacoities reported every day.